The Importance of Being Lucid

The Importance of Being Lucid

Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
by Gilles Kepel
Harvard University Press, 2002 454 pp $29.95
Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam
by John L. Esposito
Oxford University Press, 2002 196 pp $25.00



Political Islam is all the rage. But is the rage all of political Islam? Since bursting into Western consciousness with the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the cluster of movements and figures of Islamism and political Islam have been variously an inspiration and a terror-and regularly both to many-a political football in sundry regional conflicts, a challenge to their governments, a vexation to Western policymakers, and last and least, a boon to academics. The Islamists’ potential for wreaking massive havoc and suffering well beyond their accustomed frontiers was made clear to all, or should have been, by the events of September 11, 2001.


Yehudah Mirsky served in the U.S. State Department’s human rights bureau during the Clinton administration and is now a Stroock Fellow in Religion at Harvard.


Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

For insights and analysis from the longest-running democratic socialist magazine in the United States, sign up for our newsletter: